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Oregon Puts Pressure On Drug Manufacturers To Stop Raising Prices

The state of Oregon has started to put pressure on drug companies to keep prices down.

On Wednesday, the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation released a list of the most expensive medications, and the medications that caused the greatest insurance-rate increases.

The new lists are all part of Oregon’s new prescription drug price transparency law, passed by the Legislature in 2018.

The law requires drug manufacturers and health insurers to report drug price information to the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation.

ODFR spokesman Brad Hilliard said the agency is also asking patients to tell it when medications go up in price. Patients can submit information to Rx.prices@oregon.gov or 833-210-4560, or at the division’s new drug transparency webpage.

“The first step to trying to help control some of these costs is to better understand them and to provide some better transparency around them,” Hilliard said.

“These lists highlight the goal of the drug price transparency program,” said Andrew Stolfi, Oregon's insurance commissioner. “They provide a first step to transparency for Oregonians, and help all of us better understand which prescription drugs affect health care costs.”

Brand-name drugs such as Humira and Enbrel, prescriptions commonly prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, topped the lists of most expensive and greatest increase to health-plan spending.

Hydrocodone-acetaminophen, a pain reliever, was the most prescribed, along with several generic drugs treating conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Later this year, the division will hold a public hearing on how the new program is working. It’s also compiling an annual report for the legislature.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.